For the first time on Wetwork we’re featuring the same subject for two episodes. Why? Because the subject is one of numerous people who do not subsist on a single profession. According to the most recently available data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (originating from the 2010 census) more than 7 million people, or 5% of the total work force, hold 2 or more full-time jobs. More than half of that 7 million are women. For some, juggling two jobs is just one part of a sad economic reality and is the only way to remain underemployed and not living dangerously paycheck to paycheck.
For others, like Stephen Mills, one job is subordinate to another and allows the freedom to engage in creative, artistic pursuits while still keeping the lights on. This is not uncommon in the world of the arts. In fact, it’s probably more the norm than not. I, indeed, can count myself among that group. I have a full time job that has nothing to do with writing, recording and producing a podcast. But Stephen and I have that in common, because his second profession, and the one highlighted in today’s episode, is that of The Poet. And while we’ll learn that Stephen has had pretty extraordinary success in the world of poetry, especially in a field which today is surprisingly full, rich and competitive, it doesn’t pay the bills. But like most artists who work a full time job to supplement their art, your primary source of income can inform that art and give you inspiration and ammunition. Stephen elaborates on the balance of his two primary professions and while in the last episode, entitled “The Tester & The Poet” the STI testing he performs was featured heavily, while in this episode we delve into how those experiences as a tester can both inspire his poetry and allow him the freedom to pursue it.